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A Graphic Situation – Flash Fiction

May 10, 2016

A Graphic Situation

The notice sat on Nancy’s kitchen table. She read it over and over again.

“Your services are no longer needed. Please clear your desk.”

Nancy wasn’t even sure why she was fired. She’d never been late. She’d never argued with any of her superiors or questioned their motives. She was efficient and diligent in her work ethics. They offered her no further explanation and refused to allow her to argue her case. Instead, she received a severance package with a modest bonus check. She was now unemployed for the first time in her life.

Nancy spent the weekend polishing up her resume. She wasn’t an extravagant woman and tried to live within her means, but she couldn’t afford to be without a job for very long. She had two dogs and four cats to take care of, as well as her small home and her new car to maintain. Why had she bought that car? She should have known that nothing in life was certain. Her old car still had some miles on it.

As a graphic artist, she was sure she would find a job easily. She set out on that Monday morning with her portfolio and resume in hand. After a week, she’d knocked on more doors than she cared to remember. She heard more “sorry we’re not hiring” and “your work doesn’t fit our firm” than she’d ever heard before. She returned home each evening exhausted and despondent.

“I’ve got something to tell you,” a message said on her answering machine at home that Friday evening.

Nancy called her friend back. “What’s going on, Kat?”

“You are being blackballed.”

“What? Why?”

There was a long silence. Finally, Kat replied. “Remember the Dickens account?”

“Yes. They turned down my proposal.”

“Actually, they didn’t. Gosh, Nancy, I could get fired for telling you this, but you deserve to know.”

“Tell me what?”

“Cranson used your proposal and claimed it as his own. Dickens is going ahead with the campaign.”

Todd Cranson was a second-rate graphic artist. Nancy had worked closely with him for years, but few of his proposals were ever accepted. The only reason he was never fired was because his family owned the exclusive golf course that was popular with the owners of the firm. There was little she could do about this though. All of her work was the property of the firm.

“Nancy? Are you there?”

Nancy sighed. “Yes, I am still here. How do you know I am being blackballed?”

“I overheard Tate and Sheridan talking. Apparently they’ve put in calls to every firm in the City stating that you were fired for stealing a colleague’s work. Nancy, I am so sorry!”

So that’s why she’d been fired. She knew Cranson had it in for her ever since she’d won the Davies account, but that had been three years ago. She was sure he’d gotten over it. Was that why he’d been so friendly of late?

“What are you going to do, Nancy?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. Thanks, Kat.”

Nancy knew she was a great artist, but she’d always hated advertising. There had to be something she could do besides going back into that soulless line of work. Not that anyone would hire her now anyway.

Nancy decided to contact a lawyer. At their first meeting, she received even more bad news.

“We’re sorry, Miss Lorne. After looking over your contract with the firm, we noticed that you signed a clause.”

“What kind of clause?” It had been ten years since she’d signed that contract.

“You signed over all property rights to your work.”

“Well, yes. I know that, but isn’t there something you can do? I didn’t steal anyone else’s work. Can’t we sue for wrongful termination?”

“What your friend told you would be her word against theirs. Does she have solid proof?”

Nancy shook her head. She thanked the lawyer and left. She couldn’t ask Kat to jeopardize her job by getting that proof. She had three children to take care of and was recently divorced. This was just another dead-end.

Nancy settled down with her favorite online video game to calm her nerves. As her character ran around slaying dragons and gremlins, Nancy mulled over in her head what type of work she actually wanted to do. Something on the screen caught her attention. It was a Job Opportunity link at the bottom. Nancy clicked on it. They were looking for freelance graphic artists. Could she? Dare she? Nancy applied.

Β©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.

(749 Words)

Each day in May, I will be participating in the StoryADay in May. Here is today’s prompt:

Via Julie – tell a story using the Hansel & Gretel story structure

  1. I’ve never liked violence.
    I hope she gets the job.

  2. Wow. I admire you for being able to do a flash fiction story per day. That’s amazing. Interesting stories, too. Good job!

    • Thanks, Kimberly πŸ™‚ It’s a lot of fun most days.. some days, not so much *laughs* I appreciate you stopping by!

  3. Good for Nancy. I don’t normally like graphic violence, but I think some is called for here!

  4. Great title! And it seems getting fired might turn into a blessing in disguise – fingers crossed πŸ™‚

  5. Poor Nancy 😦 Hope she got the job.

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